Earlier this week, I got an email asking for extra volunteers for an event in London called "Newsroom's Got Talent". It sounded kind of fun - all the newsrooms (ITN, BBC, C4, C5, NBC, Al-jazeera etc) were putting on a kind of X-Factor style talent show, with the staff doing acts, and a celebrity judging panel. There would also be raffles and auctions raising money for the two charities (Helen and Douglas House, and Leonard Cheshire Disability). Although it was going to be a late finish (not getting away from central London before 11.15pm), and on a Thursday night, it was too much of a fun opportunity to pass up.
So off I toddled on Thursday afternoon. The organisers had kindly arranged for me to get a lift with another volunteer, so I didn't have to worry about transport (although we had a bit of fun navigating when we got close to the venue). We were all glammed up, with sashes to identify us as volunteers, and had jobs assigned. These weren't particularly onerous - helping people find their tables, selling raffle tickets, helping run the auction etc. And best of all, there was very little for us to do during the actual show part, so we'd be able to watch!
It was very interesting noting the different attitudes of the "celebs". I'm not exactly a great TV watcher - I'm more of a radio fan, so I didn't recognise many faces, but my experience definitely reinforced my previous opinion. 99% of "celebs" act like normal people and are perfectly nice and polite if you're nice and polite to them. The awkward sods tend to be the "wannabes" who no-one has ever heard of anyway. Not that there were many of them (I can only think of two that I had to deal with, and they were very drunk at the time, so it could have just been that). Luckily, all the people on my "assigned" tables were perfectly lovely, even when the catering messed them around a bit. Oh, and Trevor McDonald is a lovely lovely person. He chose to come and stand with the volunteers, when he could have been sitting in his VIP seat in the front row. Bless.
Unfortunately, it did run over somewhat (we left at 1am instead of 11.30pm), but it was worth it! I don't know how much the charities raised, but it was well into the tens of thousands, which is not bad for one night! And on top of that, I've seen at least one press article about it , which while being the Daily Fail BBC-bashing (sigh), does at least mention the charities, so that is profile raising ;-)